Share this @internewscast.com
Poland has announced it will no longer arm Ukraine in its war with Russia amid a bitter row over grain exports in a move sure to delight Vladimir Putin.
‘We are no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine, because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons,’ Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.
‘We were the first to do a lot for Ukraine and that’s why we expect them to understand our interests.
‘Of course we respect all of their problems, but for us, the interests of our farmers are the most important thing.’
Poland has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters after Russia invaded in February 2022 and has been one of Kyiv’s main weapons suppliers.
It also hosts some one million Ukrainian refugees, who have benefited from various kinds of state aid.
But tensions between Warsaw and Kyiv, sparked by Poland’s ban on Ukrainian grain imports to protect the interests of its farmers, have intensified in recent days.
Poland’s decision to end military aid to Ukraine came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared some countries are ‘only pretending’ to support Kyiv in the fight against Moscow.
The move piles yet more pressure on Zelensky, who is today in Washington hoping to win fresh aid to fight Russian invaders despite signs of war fatigue among US lawmakers.
Poland has announced it will no longer arm Ukraine in its war with Russia amid a bitter row over grain exports in a move sure to delight Vladimir Putin (Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky left, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki right)
Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles during the plenary session of the Eastern Econimic Forum, on September 12, 2023, in Vladivostok, Russia
South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-Soo, left, and his Polish host, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, attend a press conference following talks on regional security and the examination of the FA-50 fighter jets that Poland recently bought from South Korea
Zelensky is today in Washington hoping to win fresh aid to fight Russian invaders despite signs of war fatigue among US lawmakers (Zelensky pictured at United Nations Headquarters on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 in New York City)
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine closed off vital Black Sea shipping lanes used before the war, which meant the EU, and Poland in particular, became a major transit route and export destination for Ukrainian grain.
In May, the EU agreed to restrict imports to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, seeking to protect farmers there who blamed the imports for a slump in prices on local markets.
The measures allowed the products to keep transiting through the five countries, but stopped them being sold on the local market.
But last week, the European Commission said it was ending the import ban, arguing that ‘the market distortions in the five member states bordering Ukraine have disappeared’.
Poland, Hungary and Slovakia immediately announced they would defy the move, with Warsaw reacting particularly sensitively.
The current populist right-wing government of the Law and Justice party, which faces elections next month, has strong support in farming regions.
Kyiv responded to warnings by Poland, Hungary and Slovakia by announcing that it would lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Morawiecki had warned earlier on Wednesday that he would extend the list of Ukrainian products banned from import if Kyiv were to escalate the grain dispute.
Meanwhile, Zelensky meets US President Biden at the White House before going to the Pentagon to seek more weapons including longer-range missiles to boost Ukraine’s forces.
But his most crucial date is likely to be with leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties from the US Congress, where a new multibillion-dollar aid package for Kyiv is at risk of being blocked.
The White House said the Ukrainian leader’s visit came at a ‘really critical time’ as Ukraine’s slow-moving counteroffensive against Russian forces grinds into the autumn months.
Zelensky has said ‘air defence’ is Kyiv’s priority, as Moscow hit Ukraine with another barrage of missiles overnight.
‘Today there are important negotiations in Washington. Air defence for Ukraine is among the top issues,’ Zelensky said on Telegram as he arrived from New York.
‘More air defence, more support for Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines.’
Zelensky slammed Moscow’s ‘massive’ overnight attack that killed several people in the southern city of Kherson and wounded many in various regions.
‘Most of the missiles were shot down. But only the majority. Not all,’ Zelensky said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 19, 2023
Zelensky is set to meet with US President Biden at the White House before going to the Pentagon to seek more weapons including longer-range missiles to boost Ukraine’s forces
US President Joe Biden (R) walks next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) as he arrives for a visit in Kyiv on February 20, 2023
Zelensky arrived in Washington fresh from the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where he urged the world to stand firm with Ukraine against Russia’s ‘genocide.’
He asked Americans to keep up their support which has seen Washington pump more than $43 billion in military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s February 2022 invasion.
‘We are on the finishing line,’ he told CNN on Tuesday.
But Zelensky’s trip to Washington will be very different from his first wartime visit in December 2022, when he secretly flew in and received a hero’s welcome at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
This time doubts are growing over the future of US assistance, with hardline Republicans saying they won’t approve funding to prevent a US government shutdown if it includes aid for Ukraine.
Biden has pledged to stand by Kyiv no matter what – not least as his 2024 reelection campaign portrays his support for Ukraine as demonstrating his global leadership.
The US president and First Lady Jill Biden will greet Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska at the White House, before the two leaders have head-to-head talks in the Oval Office, according to US officials.
Biden is ‘looking forward to getting a battlefield perspective directly from Ukraine’s commander in chief,’ National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
Zelensky’s reported request for longer-range ATACMS missiles that can strike up to 190 miles away is ‘not off the table’ but there has been no decision yet, Kirby added.
‘The president will be talking to President Zelensky about his needs and about how the United States will continue to meet those needs.’
Biden, speaking Tuesday at the UN, warned against abandoning Ukraine, saying that ‘Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalise Ukraine without consequence.’
But Republican lawmakers are holding up the White House’s demand for any budget bill passed by Congress to include a further $24 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Kyiv.
‘What’s the plan for victory? I think that’s what the American public wants to know,’ Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said this week.
Some say the money could be better spent on US border security, while there are also concerns about the pace of Kyiv’s counteroffensive and that corruption in Ukraine means the money will go to waste.
Former president Donald Trump, the frontrunner to challenge Biden next year, has said the money would be better spent at home and predicted an eventual triumph for Putin.